At the end of October, after 23 years of work in the Meridian School District, Highland Elementary custodian Dave Babcock retired for the second and final time.
After an already successful career working as a foreman for Rockford Blacktop, Babcock came to the school district with the idea that he’d work for a few years before he retired again. Twenty-three years later, he gets to sleep in again, as he would say.
Not only was Babcock the head custodian at Highland but has been in the lunchroom supervising and engaging with kids.
“I love Mr. Babcock. He is one of my best friends,” said a young 1st Grade student.
His presence in the cafeteria has been one of the constants throughout a tumultuous past couple of years.
“There are not always many male figures in elementary school buildings and Highland has been incredibly lucky to have Mr. Babcock as a positive male role model for our students,” said Joe Mullikin, Principal at Highland Elementary.
He will not only be missed by the students but also by the staff.
“Whether it was 5 a.m. or late after school, Dave was always here checking in on us,” said Julie Foss, a long-time Highland teacher. “He loves the students like his own grandkids and will be missed more than he knows.”
Throughout his time at Highland, he built lifelong relationships with staff and students.
“Dave’s passion for loving each student that walked the halls of our school was apparent,” said Allison Hickerson, Highland Kindergarten teacher. “He greeted everyone with a smile and that smile stayed whether he was helping a child, sweeping the floors, or cleaning up after an accident.”
Babcock was sent off doing two of the things he loved most in his job: spending time with kids at lunch and giving high fives. He was surprised with an ovation and a walk down the hall on his last day.